Is there an international norm which requires all countries to open their labs should a certain situation occur? The U.S. is asking China to open its labs, but the U.S. won't do so in return, but is China required by any existing law or procedure to open its labs fully to the rest of the world? It doesn't seem reasonable unless every country is involved unless there's some law or procedure I am not aware of.

  • 2
    Define reasonable. I think any question that turns around that is going to be opinion based
    – divibisan
    May 28 at 3:28
  • I'd note that if there was any evidence of misconduct, it would've already been long destroyed and anyone involved assassinated or otherwise hidden away. So the request is purely political in nature, not a real attempt to find something. May 28 at 22:53

There is no international norm which requires all countries to open their labs just because another country asks. It would have to be a multilateral or bilateral treaty, freely signed by the members and usually reciprocal. Or an UNSC decision.

  • There is the Biological Weapons Convention. China is a member, but there is no inspection mechanism. The complaint mechanism involves the UNSC, which gets us to the next example.
  • The UNSC can decide that certain countries may not pursue certain technologies. The legality of this is interesting, but there is the Iraq example. If all permanent members and a few of the non-permanent ones agree.
  • 1
    Probably worth adding that the lack of such a norm doesn't prevent one country from pressuring another via any of the standard tools of diplomacy (up to and including declaring war if it's important enough).
    – Bobson
    May 28 at 17:19

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